Home Television “NCIS Los Angeles” Jettisons Two Long Time Actors in Budget Cuts: Renee...

The great part of being on a long running prime time series is the money.

The bad part is also the money.

As a show ages, budgets constrict. The network is paying less as ratings decline. Ask all the people who’ve been sent to early deaths on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Such is the case for “NCIS Los Angeles,” starring Chris O’Donnell, LLCoolJ, and Linda Hunt. They’re the principal players. Everyone else has a target on their backs.

And so say goodbye to Renee Felice Smith and Barrett Foa. The latter actor has been there all 12 seasons, the former came in Season 2. Last night their characters rode off into the sunset together. They will meet up with three “Grey’s” actors who were let go this spring, and numerous others. Ellen Pompeo will serve them all martinis at her imaginary Malibu brunch spot.

Showrunner Scott Gemmill rationalized the actors’ finale to TVLine:  “Both Renée and Barrett have been on the show a long time, and they’re both very ambitious individuals who have projects that they want to do on their own — and we’ve been giving them time off to do so,” Gemmill said. “It seemed like a natural time to let them go off and do some other things, and give [their characters] what is a happy, hopefully, ending.”

Look, at least weren’t killed in an explosion. Be happy for little things.

Any good news? Linda Hunt returned to the show physically in last night’s episode. It’s hoped she’ll be on full time next season. Seeing her in those syndicated reruns is always a pleasure. But go look at her in “The Year of Living Dangerously.” Still great cinema.


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